The developement of the structure of Euregio
In 1997. the partners worked out mechanism of action – formed a the Council (decision-making structure, consisting of elected political leaders from all the regions), and the a Secretarial Institution ( an executive organ, where 2 administrative bodies were presented from every region). The mechanism of action also included conditions of recruiting new members. At the same time was introduced Status of Observer: the Council will invite state structures and institutions who have given their support to the over boarders cooperation to act as observers. They are: Latvian Ministry of Environment and Regional Development, Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Latvian Government of Local Administration, as well as Estonian two Ministries – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Internal Affairs, the administration of Pskov Oblast. Latvian Government of Local Administration will guarantee connections between EU Council of Environment and Expert Committee of local governmental directorate related to the cooperation across the boarders. One of the main positive result regarding to the joint work was – commitment between the three state ministries of foreign affairs about issuing free multiply visas per one year to the habitants, living in boarder areas. This is an important support from governmental level to the work of Council. With the aim to put the goals of Council into reality some Workgroups have been formed: their tasks has varied by time, as step by step the partners have created eight permanent work-groups. They are: group of finances (to unify agreements how to use participation fees and ideas, concerning united projects), group of transport and transit, group of information change, group of culture and tourism, group of local administrations, group of regional planning, group of coordinating support to the entrepreneurs, group of protecting environment. The coordination of every group was delivered to the hands of one of the member counties or regions. The council members have agreed system of financing as follows: the annual participation fee is 1000 ECU, the Council will decide, how this amount will be spend on little united projects, attempts and undertakings. As the Council does not have its own account, in every county budget has been made arrow for participation fees under the name of "Council of Cooperation Fees". The organizers of meetings and attempts will cover the costs of the admission.
In 20th of Feb 1998 have been confirmed the three candidates of executive directors. Their main task was coordinating the day-by-day work of the Council in every state, to reinforce the decisions made step into reality. The executive directorate is a separate representation in every member State of the Council. The choice of the candidates was made as a result of the contest. Only Estonia found a possibility to complete one salary-based regular staff among the National Program of Boarder Region in the Local Governments Union of Võru Region. In Latvia and Russia accordingly the regions administrative members act as executive directors and their participation in the work of the Council has been supported from the means of participation fee.The participating regions had enough time to work out a Model of Cooperation, what could ensure actual tide connections with the Council, possibilities to discuss the decisions in democratic way, convent the joint action.The Model of Cooperation was formed according to diagnosis of partners at the time being. Evaluation was made by representatives of the boarder areas, concerning the possible joint work, existing human resources and financial availabilities. However – it needs to be brought out, that the Model – including the Council, The Secretarial Institution, executive directors and workgroups do not disaccord the similar structures in modern European boarder regions in general. The conclusions about institutions and work-principles make the main part of all eventful decisions. This phenomenon had several grounds:
Before this Latvia, Estonia and the whole Baltic region missed an example to constitute a three-lateral structure near Russian boarder.
The Council was a result of testing and learn-from-mistakes of the boarder areas, and not a result of successfully finished financially supported project. The process of forming the Council and other structures was linear, day-by-day getting to know each other in a new situation, new collective and new organisation.
The partners did not receive any additional money support and no payd labor forces, able to bound contacts in a short period. There was a real need to find and attract people and resources of their own.
Since the beginning The Council of cooperation was aimed as an organisation of mutual action. The number of members has been raised during a short period from seven to twelve, incorporating all the three states. In 1997 Valga Region from Estonia joined in, in 1998 Ludza Region and Valka Region from Latvia did, and in 1999 Sebeži Region from Russia was incorporated. The members of The Council have been blamed by local people and also by colleagues from other regions for their strong concentration to structural aspects. Indeed – its seems, that the paragraphs of the law are sometimes too strict, nit-picking and therefore maybe useless. However – for a good diciplines they may come in handy – in case of misunderstanding cultural difference and for the new members' giving an example it is always good to find a similar experience from the past. Without these formalities most probably the cooperation would have been staying in a phase of shaking hands and flying visits.Since June 1999 the partners have repeatedly returned to the aspects of strucure forming with the aim to ensure efective and viable cooperation. Under discussion have been juridical status, organisation forming principles in every three state and the laws of concluding cooperation. New structures can also act as factors to save aids.
Finally, 19th of April 2000. in Aluskne after a long-lasting discussion the council affirmed a working modus of cooperation, without Secretarial Institution. The Council with the 12 political leaders holds a meeting twice a year to confirm only strategycally important decisions. The Presidium (3 politicians and 3 executive directors) gets together 8-12 times per year to make commitments for running or future-planned projects etc. The earlier members of Secretarial Institution have been invited to take part in the events of united projects. Latvian Republic, Russian Federation local governments The Union of Local Governments of Estonian Republic - all of them are represented in Council by political leader, will recruit the project leaders and compensate fot their work. Politicians - the members of the board will be rotated one after another on state-after-state basis from every participating region. Instead of permanent workgroups, formed from 12 reprsentatives now project teams will act, consisting only from specialists and representatives from local councils or governments, working on that particular project.